I love gifts. I love giving them to other people and I love giving them to myself. I’ve talked about my need for paying down my debt (just student loans and credit cards – I paid off my car this past October!!) so I try to be financially savvy yet when the holidays hit, it’s a big slap in the face.
I definitely have a shopping problem. I’m never unable to pay my bills, but I’ve proceeded to stretch myself pretty thin when it comes to savings and living paycheck to paycheck. And now that the holidays are here, my credit cards are feeling a major pinch. It’s a never-ending cycle with me right now – pay down the debt, rack it back up.
As for my love of gifts, I have a decent list of people I want to celebrate this holiday. The trick for me is to find that balance between cost & a sweet sentiment/something they want or need. My parents are extremely nice to us, even as adults, when it comes to holiday gifting so I feel bad when I gift something cheaply made or impractical. For this, sales are forever my friend! I actually got quite a bit crossed off this past weekend with all the Black Friday thru Cyber Monday sales. Experiences make great gifts too so I’m trying to keep an eye out for deals on ones my loved ones would appreciate 🙂
As for my never-ending debt, I made a spreadsheet with all my debt amounts. I included the total amount, the minimum payment, and how much I’m currently paying. I also made a spreadsheet with how much I am actually spending on each person this holiday season because honestly my actions are a never ending lesson to myself. Seeing all of this written out in front of me is half eye-opening and half motivating. I am thisclose to paying off my undergraduate student loan. If I continue with the payment amount I’m currently doing, the loan will be paid off in February. And I am itching so bad to just use money out of my emergency savings account (because hey I actually do have one of those!) and pay it off right now. Except I keep having to remind myself that I might actually need that money for an emergency…
So basically, finances and the holidays are a personal struggle for me. I am slowly getting better, and getting smarter about how I spend my money but I definitely have a long way to go. It is very easy for some people to just not spend money. I am not one of those people, but I am trying. And when it comes down to it I will definitely say, if the money really isn’t there – a funny card with a well written personal message is SIGNIFICANTLY better than finding some cheap object just to have an actual gift to hand someone. It means nothing and it will most likely end up donated or trashed.